AS 2010 Volume 17 Issue 1

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Systems thinking for project management: implications for practice and education
    (University of the Free State, 2010) Taylor, Robert
    English: Deriving from a critique of the theory of management that has influenced the practice of project management, this article explores an alternative paradigm in the form of systems thinking. The known multi-disciplinary usefulness of systems thinking is proposed as a means of reconsidering project planning, implementation and control, leading to potential implications for the education of project managers. The appropriate selection of systems approaches for use in the planning and control of complex projects in any development sector, including construction, is considered. Although the specific details of any specific ‘process-based’ systems approaches are not presented, the conceptual rationale for such approaches to project planning and control is presented. This is done within a framework of critical consideration of those factors that are argued to contribute to failure to meet key project outcomes, especially in complex projects. Contemporary literature (extensively referred to in this article) increasingly suggests that there are limits to the established ‘rational-oriented’ approaches to project management. The current body of practice knowledge requires the addition of complementary, ‘process-based’ approaches for a new generation of strategic project managers. Specific recommendations for educational development in this regard are made. This article explores the influence of contemporary organisational theory on project management and hence the need to add critically necessary soft skills capacity to the current body of knowledge.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Financial management techniques used by residential property developers
    (University of the Free State, 2010) Hall, John; Lowies, Braam
    English: Real estate development can be one of the largest contributors of wealth in society; and it plays a key role in determining the level of economic prosperity of individuals, business firms and the country. For residential property developers to be successful wealth creators, they have to do sound financial planning, make the right decisions and use prudent financial management techniques. These decisions involve numerous alternatives, of which only one may yield the ultimate benefits and create the most wealth. The objective of this article is to investigate which financial techniques and methods residential property developers apply in practice when they undertake capital structure decisions or determine their cost of capital, as well as the methods they use when they make capital budgeting decisions., Important relationships such as the sources of finance used by residential property developers and the capital structure they tend to choose were identified by means of statistical testing. The results showed relatively low costs for obtaining both debt and own funds. Developers tend to disregard techniques such as the net present value (NPV) and the internal rate of return (IRR), because these techniques are unfamiliar to them. The relevance and importance of promoting the study of finance among real estate practitioners and familiarising them with its decision-making techniques and methods was one of the main recommendations of this article.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Benchmarking SMMEs’ management performance in the built environment of Gauteng province, South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2010) Ladzani, Watson; Smith, Nico; Pretorius, Leon
    English: In South Africa, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are characterised by poor management, weak entrepreneurial performance and low global competitiveness, among other challenges. The primary objective of this article is to identify reasons for this poor performance of SMMEs in the building construction industry. Secondary objectives were to evaluate, benchmark and rank the management performance of SMMEs in this industry. An evaluative, comparative, analysis research design was constructed to do the research. A total of 326 employees from 64 randomly selected SMMEs participated in a self-assessment evaluation process. The Performance Excellence Self-assessment Questionnaire (PESQ) was used to collect primary data. Secondary data on the models of management performance was obtained from relevant publications. The study established management performance benchmarks for SMMEs in the Built Environment. SMMEs in the study area in South Africa do not benchmark their management performance against world-class and SADC best practices. The three lowest ranked criteria out of the eleven management performance criteria evaluated were social responsibility, business processes, and planning and strategy. These criteria were the main causes of poor management performance of SMMEs. The study concluded with a summary of management performance scores and recommendations for improving productivity and benchmarking of SMMEs in the building construction industry against international comparative levels.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Is project management a benefit to the Botswana construction industry?
    (University of the Free State, 2010) Himayumbula, Terryson; Prinsloo, Hendrik
    English: Project Management has become a popular topic in the construction industry throughout the world. Botswana is no exception and many developers are now insisting that project managers should also be in charge of their development projects. However, as project managers charge a considerable fee for some of the services that were historically handled by architects, some industry role players have expressed their doubts whether project managers are in fact worthwhile. Project managers claim to do all these services better and faster than the traditional architect but it could be asked whether their involvement generated any tangible benefits to the construction industry to justify their added cost to a building project. The main aim of this article is to answer this question. A quantitative survey was conducted by means of a structured questionnaire involving various role players in the Botswana construction industry. The results were interpreted and the authors would like to present their positive findings that project management is indeed a benefit to the construction industry in Botswana.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The effect of Chinese construction companies on the Namibian construction industry; a construction and design team members’ perspective
    (University of the Free State, 2010) Buys, Fanie; Hallick, Sean
    English: The presence of Chinese construction companies working in Namibia has had an impact on the Namibian construction industry and the economy of the country. This article provides an overview of current trends and legislative acts relating to the construction industry in Namibia. It also describes the effect that Chinese construction companies have had on Namibian contractors and the tender opportunities available to these local contractors, and analyses to what extent Chinese construction companies comply with the various acts relating to the construction industry; as perceived by construction industry stakeholders. A questionnaire survey was conducted among Namibian contractors and building professionals and the results revealed that Chinese construction companies dominate and have a negative effect on local Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs). Some of the Chinese contractors are being awarded tenders without having complied with the tender regulations set by the Tender Board.